Albuquerque, NM—Equality New Mexico (EQNM), Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico (TGRCNM), ACLU of New Mexico (ACLU-NM), Southwest Women’s Law Center (SWLC), and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) applaud the introduction of the federal Equality Act, legislation introduced today in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Equality Act would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in seven categories: employment, housing, credit, education, public accommodations, public funding, and jury service. Though New Mexico has had nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity since 2003, the Equality Act would provide federal protection that reaches critical areas, like education.
“We’ve been fortunate to have broad legal protections for LGBT people in New Mexico for more than 10 years,” says Amber Royster, Executive Director Equality New Mexico. “The Equality Act will expand these protections in New Mexico, and also provide a much needed benchmark for all 50 states in how they treat and respect LGBT community members.”
"We are excited to see federal nondiscrimination legislation that doesn't leave out the transgender community," said Zane Stephens, Co-Director of Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico. "And, we look forward to the expanded protections here in New Mexico once this bill passes."
“No one should ever fear that they will lose their job or their home just because of who they love,” said ACLU-NM Executive Director Peter Simonson. “This legislation would go a long way towards protecting LGBT people from the unfair treatment to which they are still subjected in many parts of the country.”
“Today we celebrate,” added Executive Director of Southwest Women’s Law Center Pamelya Herndon. “Once the Equality Act is passed, we will finally have concrete legislation that explicitly prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination, and our civil rights laws will truly protect all people in our country.”
"We applaud the introduction of comprehensive legislation that will explicitly protect LGBT people from discrimination," said Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League and Christopher Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair. "It is essential for securing justice and fair treatment to all LGBT people."
The Equality Act also puts New Mexico on the map; Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham is an original sponsor of the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“To have one of our own congressional delegates sponsor this bill is such an important validation of the work all of us in the LGBT and allied communities have done to make New Mexico a more fair and just place for all New Mexicans,” said Royster. “We couldn’t be more proud to see our state at the center of this historic legislation.”
About EQNM: Equality New Mexico serves LGBT New Mexicans, and is committed to educating to change hearts and minds, advocating for those treated unfairly, and helping to empower communities and individuals to achieve a fair and just New Mexico.
About TGRCNM: TGRCNM provides a wide range of support and educational services to trans people and their allies in New Mexico. Our services range from support groups to educational programs for medical and social service providers, as well as number of direct client services.
About ACLU of NM: The mission of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico is to maintain and advance the cause of civil liberties, civil rights and constitutional freedom in New Mexico.
About Southwest Women’s Law Center: The Southwest Women's Law Center is a policy and advocacy law center that has built extensive collaborations with community advocates to address legal issues that arise based on gender, class, race, disability, age, and/or immigration status.